By the time they were done, their savings had been spent in daily survival. Either farmers aren't particularly rich, or he ran into one who lacked in generosity of any form. If I remember correctly, they were given all the eggs and potatoes they could eat and a place to live. Mom said they nearly froze to death the first winter. It was a learning experience. Dad never did become a farmer. Instead he got a job in the city of Rochester, and they eventually bought a little ranch house on a concrete slab, raised a family, and grew a garden. When he got the hankering for cattle, hay, and the smell of manure, we took a ride down to Uncle Joe's in Caneadea, NY, not too far from Houghton College. (That's the backroads trip I want to take.)
In a way, Dad's backyard garden was his farm. We didn't have cows or chickens, a tractor or manure spreader, but we did the best vegetable garden on the block, which once in a while included a hot pile of manure cooling for a summer. Our manure spreader was Dad, with a wheelbarrow and a shovel, our barns were the sheds he built to fill with firewood to warm the house throughout the long winters, and our animals included a dachshund named Katie and here and there a cat.
I don't know how he did it without a barn of his own and a hundred acres, but he managed to pass that love of country on to me. Maybe it was all those warm, fuzzy photos in his collection of Ideal Magazines. The ones with neat and tidy farmhouse kitchens, delectable baked goods, sweet baby animals, and smiling children in straw hats. Come to think of it, my chickens are probably due to have their water refilled...
Happy Father's Day, Dad! I wouldn't trade you and the wonderful childhood memories for anything in the world!
Come visit Tom at The Barn Collective.